Monday, March 27, 2023 

More of Zachary Levi's near-sighted viewpoint

It's already old news that Shazam: Fury of the Gods has flopped in ticket sales, but here's more from Variety that I may not have noticed earlier, about what its star, Zachary Levi, had to say regarding the film's failure, and how Dwayne Johnson of Black Adam infamy undermined the Big Red Cheese film by extension:
The “Fury of the Gods” post-credits scene finds Shazam being recruited to join the Justice Society, a group of heroes introduced in Johnson’s “Black Adam.” In the film, it’s Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee) from Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker” who appear to recruit Shazam, not Cyclone and Hawkman.

Levi originally made headlines for sharing The Wrap’s post on his Instagram story with the caption: “The truth will set you free.” While he did not name Dwayne Johnson then or in his new Instgram video, he did confirm that Cyclone and Hawkman were blocked from appearing in the post-credits scene.
If the actress playing the Cyclone role was taking up the "non-binary" identity politics, as was indicated by earlier reports, it doesn't make much difference, because she'd prove just as embarrassing with that kind of position as the Pedro Pena character was when they characterized him as homosexual. Besides, this is just more efforts to avoid questioning whether such wokeism blew the film's chances.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” opened to $30 million domestically, well below the $53 million the original “Shazam!” opened with in 2019. It was a big loss considering the sequel cost north of $110 million to make and another $100 million to market. Levi wrote in a Tweet that the film’s marketing was a big issue as it was not promoted as a family movie, and he also agreed that some Zack Snyder fans were happy the movie bombed as a kind of revenge against Warner Bros. for dropping Snyder’s DC Universe in favor of Gunn and Safran’s new one. The SnyderVerse was defined by its brooding and dark tone, which is the direct opposite of the more light and goofy “Shazam” movies.
If you know where to look, the "SnyderVerse" also has traces of wokeism in it too, right down to a cameo by the Ryan Choi character who was introduced as a diversity-pandering replacement for Silver Age Atom Ray Palmer in the mid-2000s, soon after Identity Crisis came at Ray's and Jean Loring's expense. What do these "fans" they speak of see in such overrated blockbusters? Maybe the problem is that they're equally woke themselves, and see the dark tone representing everything they believe in. But as I'd stated earlier, if said wokeism is applied to an ostensibly lighter toned movie as well, then that ruins everything. Again, this is something Levi's sadly not willing to consider.
“If you don’t want to watch a movie with humor in it because you’re more into straight up hard action, I get it,” Levi said in his new video. “I’m not trying to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. But let me remind you where comics and Captain Marvel/Shazam started… These were comics geared toward younger people and the fun and the silliness and the goofiness.”

“It’s a real shame if comic book movies have gotten to place where they have to be nothing but serious and nothing but intense and nothing but dark,” Levi added. “That’s a sad day. I don’t know what else to say about that.”
If he's got nothing to say about how comic books got to that point in the past 2-3 decades, what's the use of complaining? And, what we see now with LGBT allusions shoehorned into these films is actually part of the woke agenda, yet Levi's too naive to understand that. That's why it's such a sad day.

Also, in a related subject, there's an article at the Sioux City Journal about a specialty store manager who got a role as an extra in the movie:
Call it an occupational hazard since Kevin, who co-owns of ACME Comics & Collectibles with Fran, has started a second career as a background actor (also known as an extra) on shows like AMC's "The Walking Dead" and Netflix's "Ozark."

[...] Most of the roles have been in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it variety. However, his role in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" -- a big screen adaptation of the popular DC Comic superhero character of Shazam -- may be Kevin's most prominent role to date.

Or maybe it won't be.

"You see, I haven't watched the movie yet,"
Kevin said of the movie, which was released nationally March 17. "My scene may be in the final cut or it may have been left on the cutting room floor."
With the reception it got, the woke screenplay and the lackluster box office receipts, I'd feel better if the role weren't in the master footage if I were in his shoes. Seriously, what's so great about being even an extra in a movie like this? I'm wise enough to not to crave that kind of "fame", and most others should be too. Fame at all costs can lead to embarrassment in the long run. And Netflix, lest we forget, is one of the worst TV streaming channels around, with a whole shipload of woke productions in the past decade.

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News columnist admits X-Men aren't easy to follow in their current incarnations

The Valdosta Daily Times' comics columnist took a look at the current X-books, and is willing to admit something, though at the same time, he beclowns himself with another:
– The current X-books are sort of the manifestations of Moira MacTaggert who has been reincarnated multiple times through the various incarnations of the X-Men throughout Marvel’s 60-plus history.

– Mutants can be killed but they cannot die. Mutantkind has learned the secret of reincarnation via keeping databases stored with up-to-date memories and growing new genetically matched bodies.

Even with all of that, I felt readers could keep up with what’s going on in all of the X-books.

But reading the third collected volume of the “X-Men” comics, I realized it may be impossible for a new reader, or even a casual reader, to figure out what is going on. Or even a regular reader of a specific X-title, for that matter.
Wow, you don't say. This has been the problem for years, since the turn of the century, when Marvel's continuity as we once knew it began to deteriorate, and only now is somebody willing to come even miles within admitting something went wrong. Yet at the same time, he won't recognize that Moira's standing as a mutant was only a recent retcon from a few years ago, One must wonder what's so special about such a trivial retcon that he can't take a logical view of it. I get the feeling he knew plenty of years ago that Marvel was unlikely to stand their continuity erect again after only so many artistic disasters, not the least being Avengers: Disassembled, yet these mainstream columnists regrettably won't argue whether it's time to retire Marvel until a proper reworking can be done, in paperback formats to boot, and it definitely won't come under Disney's ownership.

The X-Men, much like other Marvel/DC books, became unreadable after the turn of the century, and Joe Quesada, among other successive woke editors and writers, only precipitated the farce they've devolved into since. Probably the only thing possible to appreciate here is that the current writers are actually willing to emphasize resurrection, after the way Marvel/DC were going out of their way to spite it in the 2000s. But that's still not going to redeem the pretentions still dogging much of mainstream for many years now.

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Sunday, March 26, 2023 

Marvel Studios fires executive who brought about wokeness in their projects

Breitbart's John Nolte addressed the newly announced dismissal of one Victoria Alonso (no idea if she's related to similarly leftist former EIC Axel Alonso at the publisher), a prominent executive for almost a year, who's mainly responsible for plaguing their movie projects with wokeism, along with Kevin Feige:
Marvel Studios has fired Victoria Alonso a mere ten months after promoting her to President of Physical, Post Production, VFX, and Animation, or The PPPPVA. [...]

This promotion was also lauded as a big deal because Alonso checked off a bunch of diversity boxes: female, racial minority, and gay… My guess is that if she had a harelip, she would have been given Kevin Feige’s job,

Naturally, Alonso was a woke quota queen who lobbied to ruin Marvel movies with homosexuality, transvestites, and outright idiocy like changing the X-Men to the “X-People,” or some such nonsense.

Anyway, it looks to me, based on the box office numbers, that Alonso was pretty successful at ruining the Marvel juggernaut. Thanks primarily to woketardery, Marvel’s box office is down, and so is the audience’s goodwill. Marvel feminized Thor, gave us a hairy man-on-man kiss in the Eternals, desexualized everyone, and introduced new characters who are no fun at all because they are too busy whining about racism, sexism, and getting misgendered.
You could also add to that how said characters are becoming portrayed as self-hating of their race, ethnicity and biological sex. But while Alonso was undoubtably accountable for much of the artistic and financial disasters they've experienced lately, surely Feige's also got blame to shoulder? If so, then they're making Alonso into a fall-girl, while Feige all but gets off without blame, or taking responsibility for his own mistakes.

In any event, it's honestly time to retire the Marvel movie franchise, as I've argued before, and time to emphasize fiction that isn't fantasy-based more often again. Special effects are something that's taken up way too much of moviedom nowadays.

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Rick & Morty co-creator has domestic violence charges dropped

Now here's a most eyebrow raising turn of events in the case of animator Justin Roiland, as reported on Israel Hayom:
California prosecutors on Wednesday dropped domestic violence charges against Justin Roiland, who created the Adult Swim animated series "Rick and Morty" and provided the voices of the show's two title characters.

Orange County district attorney's spokeswoman Kimberly Edds said the two felony counts involving a former girlfriend were dropped "due to a lack of sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt."
Is this an honest conclusion made by the investigators, or is this the result of increasingly disastrous policies in California, where liberal governor Gavin Newsom's been turning what was once a properous state area of the USA into a fiasco in many ways? I have no idea. I do know that if the woman who'd accused him filed police legal reports, that's a more credible way to build a case, but if she had made a false complaint, then yes, that was wrong. If the accusations are factual, however, then the prosecution was wrong not to indict Roiland, and did a terrible disfavor to abuse victims everywhere.

John Nolte of Breitbart addressed the issue like this:
I know nothing about anyone or anything involved in this case. Before this situation blew up in January, I had never heard of Justin Roiland. What’s more, I’ve never watched a frame of Rick and Morty. Roiland might be the biggest left-wing jerk in Hollywood. He might hate Christians and wish Trump supporters dead. He might be a transvestite Satanist. I don’t care about any of that because that has nothing to do with the injustice here.

Justin Roiland’s career, reputation, and income were wiped in a few days over an allegation.

Although the allegation had not seen the inside of a courtroom, Hollywood still annihilated this man and everything he’d worked for.

[...] This is all political. This is all about 1) wiping out men in the creative world to make way for the shrews and 2) appeasing the fascist shrews who have no respect for due process or human decency.

I’ve heard all the arguments… The Constitution is only about what the government can and cannot do. It does not regulate individuals or corporations.
If Roiland's innocent, then he should be welcomed back by the studios he's worked for, in all fairness. But again, if he's guilty, then what's really occurring here is the travesty of a prosecution believing the blacklist issued against him is truly enough, when it's not, and some can reasonably wonder if his political standings played into the case's dismissal. Is that possible?

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Saturday, March 25, 2023 

How Dwayne Johnson ruined everything for the Shazam sequel, and Zachary Levi isn't helping either

The Wrap (via Comic Book Movie) says that if there was anything else besides the poor screenplay and performances in Shazam: Fury of the Gods that scuttled it, the culprit includes a certain somebody whose talents are fuzzy at best:
In The Rock’s attempt to position himself at the center of the Universe, he vetoed a post-credits scene featuring Zachary Levi’s character, insiders say

The underwhelming $65 million worldwide debut of “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is another black mark for the DC Universe, the second-string superhero stable. But there’s another villain, insiders told TheWrap: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whose behind-the-scenes maneuvering to boost another DC property — “Black Adam,” in which he starred — may well end up tanking both franchises, they said.

To be clear, DC has a host of problems that aren’t Johnson’s fault, which is why Warner Bros. Discovery is attempting a reboot under James Gunn and Peter Safran. But in trying to shape “Black Adam” as the new center of the DC Universe — a strategy that failed to bolster “Black Adam” and undercut the once-promising “Shazam” franchise — Johnson may have kneecapped both, painting a portrait of a celebrity who put his own brand before the work.
Well, that's surely commonplace in Tinseltown, for actors and directors with inflated egos to strut around like they own the place, and do whatever they can to see that everything is done according to their personal vanity ideas. And for Johnson, the saddest part about his and the screenwriters' approach was that they relied on woke metaphors, much like the Shazam sequel does. That aside, Johnson is such an overrated "actor" that to watch anything starring him, IMO, requires anticipating a lot of aggravation along the way.

Even without Johnson's meddling in the film productions, though, Zachary Levi hasn't made things better with the way he views the marketing, as Breitbart's John Nolte describes:
The film’s star, Zachary Levi, is blaming the marketing.

To a point, I agree. Once Shazam! Fury of the Gods began catering to America’s woketards with the promise that one of Shazam’s sidekicks would come out as gay, it undoubtedly hurt the box office. People are beyond tired of this nonsense, most especially parents.

Nevertheless, even if Levi believed that that was the cause, he couldn’t say it and remain employable. In fact, Levi laughably described Shazam! Fury of the Gods as a family movie: [emphasis added]:

In a fan Q&A, Levi wrote that the “biggest issue” with Fury of the Gods was “marketing.” He also said that while he’s not blaming the box office on Zack Snyder fans, he acknowledged that there is a particularly vocal cadre of Snyder devotees online who eagerly root for any other DC project to fail.

One Shazam fan tweeted, “There is no denying that at the moment there are many Snyder fans who are happy for the failure of your film and many of them wish that everything that is to come fails just for not continuing with the films of their director.”

“This is also true,” Levi wrote in response. “Sad, but true. How much that actually affects the box office is anyone’s guess. But I think the biggest issue we’re having is marketing. This is a perfect family movie, and yet a lot of families aren’t aware of that. Which is just a shame.”

Except Shazam! Fury of the Gods did not advertise itself as a family movie—quite the opposite. The moment families hear that a movie contains adult sexuality in the form of homosexuality, they know it is not a movie for kids. No sane parent wants to 1) undermine their child’s innocence prematurely or 2) have to explain alternate sexual lifestyles to a little kid on the way home from the movies.
Levi's idea of "family fare" is clearly very warped, and he's not willing to consider any more than the rest of the studio and contributors to this dreadful farce. One more reason nobody should feel sorry their pretentious production's taken a nose dive, and whatever hopes they had for a long-running franchise have collapsed pretty quickly.

Of course, any interference Johnson performed in regards to Fury of the Gods, let's consider, however, is only serving as a cheap excuse for both Hollywood and the press to obscure whether the LGBT pandering played a role in the movie's downfall. When will they be willing to debate all that? Probably never. And by that time, the whole craze for producing live action movies and TV shows based on DC/Marvel creations will have faded away. And when that happens, it'll be for the best.

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Friday, March 24, 2023 

Salesman at a Maryland convention claims Marvel movies brought children back to the comics

Here's an article on the Frederick News-Post about the local comics convention this year, and one of the vendors said the following:
Comic books had been lagging for younger kids, but then the Marvel series of movies brought kids back to comics.

"That's our next generation,"
Hovatter said.

From the Marvel and DC Comics universes, kids will move to more niche titles and subjects as they grow up, he said.
This decidedly continues to be a laughable claim that additionally ignores the current reality, wherein wokeness has been injected into both Marvel/DC movies that's not suitable for children, like the LGBT ideology that's been shoehorned into the Eternals and Thor films, and more recently, the Shazam films. Not to mention that, despite what's alleged, with sales so hilariously low, it's clear hardly any children are even reading the most woke books from the Big 2.
Shoff's shows are known as a place to find vendors with issues that people are looking for, Hovatter said.

Finding that special issue that you've been looking for is a big part of collecting, he said.

"The hunt is half the fun," he said.
But what if that special issue's since been reprinted in trade collections? Wouldn't it be far better to buy it that way? I just don't understand the logic behind all this continued focus on pamphlets, seeing how outmoded they became long ago, yet nobody who's an industrialist so much as questions whether things should change, and very few publishers have. The mainstream certainly haven't. Some sales vendors are so naive, and clearly don't have the confidence to acknowledge something or anything's gone wrong with modern comics development. Oddly enough, the same article also says prior to these parts:
Today, younger people seem to like toys and cards such as Pokémon more than comic books, said Derek Woywood, one of the vendors Sunday.
And if it's manga they're into, the reason why is because most foreign writers and artists aren't insulting the intellect of their audiences by injecting politically motivated material into their work for the sake of propaganda. How come nobody in the USA's got the courage to point that out?

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Thursday, March 23, 2023 

Superhero history museum in Indiana falls victim to burglary

The Moultrie Observer reports that a museum dedicated to superhero comics history was sadly robbed of some valuable old copies:
Amid the quietude of early Sunday morning, police report thieves broke into the world’s only museum of comic superheroes, escaping with 50 rare copies of books worth thousands of dollars.

Included in the heist were first editions of Captain America, X-Men, Hulk and Iron Man, said museum director and owner Allen Stewart. Police determined the heft likely involved more than one culprit.

“We are heartbroken and sick that someone would break into our nonprofit museum and steal this valuable history that we are dedicated to preserve and share,” said Stewart.

A tourist attraction in this northern Indiana city, the museum features rare copies of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and many other iconic comic book figures.
That's definitely terrible a thing to happen. And the worst part?
Stewart said the museum had hosted its annual convention earlier this month, with over 100 vendors attending. He said the irreplaceable comic books were not insured.

“The collection is very, very expensive to insure,” he said. “We are a small nonprofit and we don’t have the funding to insure.”

[...] “They stole history,” he said of the thieves. “They didn’t just steal stuff.”
It's surely a vital question - where could the criminals sell this stuff? On the black market? Are there any corrupt millionaires who'd buy them? It's a good question. For now, it's terrible that a museum, the most ideal place where these valuable artifacts should be seen, has suffered from burglary of history, and there's no telling if the old pamphlets will ever be recovered. We can only hope the museum staff will be able to obtain better security in the future to preserve and protect all the classics they still have there.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023 

Rare issue of Detective Comics #27 from 1939 goes on the auction market

Here's more news from the NY Post about yet another Golden Age back issue, this one of Batman's debut from 1939, going on the speculator market for more than $1 million:
This comic book could bring in some batty prices.

A rare, unrestored copy of Detective Comics #27— Batman’s 1939 debut — is on the auction block, and the final bid could approach the rare issue’s record price of $1.74 million, according to an independent seller.

“$1.5 million is not an unreasonable guess,” said Ted VanLiew, owner of Super World Comics in Holden, Mass. “It may set a record. It’s so sought after that it’s gonna get crazy attention.”
What difference does it make? This kind of news is boring for years on end now, because as I've stressed before, it's clear the buyers and sellers aren't interested in the artistic and entertainment value; all they care about is boosting the price for the next sale, at auction or otherwise. And that, IMO, is what's batty here, and not for the right reasons.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023 

Shazam movie sequel sputters

And some of the mainstream press is willing to admit it. Here's an Indiewire report:
For the second time in a month, a mid-level comic book franchise opened to disappointment. “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” (Warner Bros. Discovery) grossed $30.5 million in domestic sales.

That’s more than 40 percent down from the initial DC Comics film in 2019 (with ticket prices at least 15 percent lower). At $35 million, international territories were no better
: China grossed $4.4 million in over 21,000 locations for less than a $210 per-theater average. At a reported production cost of $125 million before significant marketing costs, this will likely lose money.

WBD vacated the film’s Christmas date, trading the potential for accelerated holiday interest for access to premium screens and playing during spring vacation. Smart strategy, but the payoff still wasn’t there.

DC is not alone in this plight; Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (Disney) struggles to reach $500 million worldwide (estimated budget $200 million, plus marketing). Don’t expect either character to return as more than part of an ensemble.
I've said it before, and will again: I'd rather all these live action adaptations be retired for a change. They don't do the source material justice, and the majority of them don't even seem to deal with the kind of issues past comicdom did, like race relations and drug trafficking (unless the modern leftist playbook is employed); the movie screenplays seem to stick, by contrast, with very generic plots, unless it's the kind of social justice ideologies that've become a sad staple of more recent productions.

On that note, I've taken a look at some of the reviews available through Rotten Tomatoes, which as of this writing stands at a tepid 53 percent, and while there are a lot of disappointed voices to read through, very few of them mention the screenplay's emphasis on Pedro Pena being homosexual, and if they do, they don't admit it's in poor taste or morally questionable. There are some things to consider, however, such as what's hinted at in this At Home In Hollywood review:
No one wants to see the venerable Dame Helen Mirren get body slammed. No one wants to see the venerable Dame Helen Mirren body slamming anyone else. Most of her villainy is done by extending her arm and and twitching her fingers, but the occasional brutal smash ups, and the ridiculous lines she’s given, are of great consternation to Helen Mirren fans.
Since the main adversaries are 2 or 3 villainesses, it makes me think of the abortive 1984 Supergirl film, putting Faye Dunaway and Brenda Vaccaro in the roles of villainesses (and the latter's lines were horrifically unfunny). Here, we have 2 actresses even older than those 2 were when that movie was filmed almost 4 decades ago. And there sure is something troubling about a movie where they made sure to virtue-signal to LGBT ideology, yet see nothing wrong with depicting women as the adversaries this time around, and at least one getting body slammed like in a wrestling arena?!? Hmm, we must be missing something. Also of note is what's told about the urban location, in Splice Today's review:
The new film, like the first, is set in Philadelphia but wasn’t filmed there, and only two places in the city, the Ben Franklin Bridge and Citizen’s Bank Park, look anything like real Philadelphia landmarks. We do, though, occasionally see the Center City skyline below when superheroes are flying through the air. As I said about the first movie, Shazam! is Philadelphia when the characters are in the sky, while it’s suddenly Atlanta when they’re on the ground. And I can’t imagine any of the actors ever actually set foot on the field of the Phillies’ stadium.
If the studio didn't do any location work in Philly for the sequel, those who're realists know why: with all the violent crime that's consumed the city as much as New York, it'd be potentially dangerous to set up shop there, even with security around. That's why Hollywood's ultra-leftist standings come off as so hypocritical: their beliefs are leading to many possible filming locations becoming unsafe, and not good for use anymore. You can almost expect a return someday to the setpieces famous at Universal City Studios, which I saw put to use in a lot of old movies and TV shows from decades gone by.

I also took a look at some comments made by actress Rachel Zegler, as reported by BGR:
“Some people out there (are) just being … senselessly mean,” Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Rachel Zegler tweeted over the weekend. “And it’s unnecessary. And I know, I know, ‘If you can’t handle the heat…’ and all that nonsense, and you’re right. But our film is actually very good. It’s just cool to hate on fun nowadays.”
Gee, where'd she been when Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada did just that in the 2000s? And if she does care about fun, she'd do well to consider that wokeness diminishes it. Let's be clear. Optimistic storytelling can't be validated solely by emphasizing political correctness, and it's shameful when entertainment writers are only willing to offer fun and joy based on injection of wokeness into the stories. There's a highly probably chance any Superman movie in the works will follow this blueprint too, which is exactly why, despite what's reported here about "Truth, Justice and the American Way" being restored in a planned film overseen by James Gunn, that's about all you can expect in terms of positivity, because if they do intend to follow what Ta-Nehisi Coates developed, then the famous classic Super-slogan will be mooted by wokeness.

But, I'm sure plenty of people realized these movie projects were going downhill no matter what ingredients were added, because the woke obsessions taint everything when put to use. So, couple that with how overrated a filmmaker Gunn is, and you can see that improvements are highly unlikely. Again, it's time for these live action adaptations to be shelved.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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